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Human Papillomavirus Infection Tied to Preterm Birth Risk

Risk increased for both persistent and placental infection and for both spontaneous and all preterm births

By Physician's Briefing Staff | September 21, 2021

Persistent human papillomavirus (HPV) infection is associated with an increased risk for preterm birth, according to a study published online Sept. 15 in JAMA Network Open.

Joseph Niyibizi, M.D., Ph.D., from the University of Montreal, and colleagues assessed whether HPV infection is associated with preterm birth (defined as a live birth or stillbirth between 20 weeks and zero days and 36 weeks and six days of gestation) among a cohort of 899 pregnant women recruited between Nov. 8, 2010, and Oct. 16, 2016.

The researchers found that 42 percent of women had HPV DNA detected in vaginal samples collected during the first trimester, while in 11.1 percent of women, it was detected in the placenta at delivery. Preterm births occurred in 55 women (38 spontaneous and 17 medically indicated). There was a significant association observed between persistent vaginal HPV-16/18 detection and all preterm births (adjusted odds ratio, 3.72) and spontaneous preterm births (adjusted odds ratio, 3.32). Similar findings were seen for placental HPV infection (adjusted odds ratios, 2.53 and 2.92 for all preterm births and spontaneous preterm births, respectively).

"If confirmed in larger and more diverse populations, these findings would support a role for HPV vaccination programs in the reduction of the burden of preterm births," the authors write.

One author disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

Abstract/Full Text


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